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Province orders investigation into prolific offenders

The B.C. government has hired two experts to investigate and write a report on the actions needed to deal with prolific offenders and random violent attacks.

Provincial officials say British Columbia’s urban mayors’ caucus sent detailed information to the Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General about their concerns.

According to the province, despite overall decreases in provincial and community crime rates, downtown retail areas are hurting from shifting crime patterns during the pandemic.

They say the trend was confirmed by local and provincial police.

“Simply because we are compassionate, concerned and taking action on mental health and addiction issues does not mean that we have to accept criminal behaviour, vandalism or violence in our communities,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing in a release.

“We all have to live together, and recovery from the pandemic for hard-hit retailers and downtowns through safety and accessibility for everyone is part of ensuring British Columbia remains one of the best places in the world to live.”

“We agree with the mayors that creative solutions within our authority are needed. Together, we’ve identified and hired the experts in policing and mental health needed to investigate these trends, identify solutions and help us implement them.”

The report will be completed by Doug LePard, a former Vancouver Police Department deputy chief and former Metro Vancouver Transit police chief, and Amanda Butler, a health researcher and criminologist.

Provincial officials said the investigation will be similar to actions taken by the province to address money laundering, as well as the financial crisis at ICBC.

They said those reports dramatically reduced money laundering activities in B.C. casinos and helped lower car insurance rates.

A written report will be released in early fall.

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